Perhaps you've seen the promo on the Weather Channel in which a meteorologist presents a lesson about tornadoes. He fills a blender container with yogurt and milk and blends it on progressively higher speeds. Finally, a student in the class blurts out, "So a tornado is mother nature's way of making a smoothie!"
I don't know how apt the comparison is for meteorological purposes but one thing's for sure -- smoothies have become so popular, they're popping up as frequently as tornadoes in Kansas during May.
The modern precursor of the smoothie may well have been the Orange Julius of the 1970's. But its origins probably go back further than that. Smoothies no doubt owe part of their heritage to the Mexican Licaudos, a blend of milk and fruit, the Cuban batido, a sort-of tropical fruit milk shake and the traditional Indian Lacci made with yogurt and fruit.
Strictly speaking sense a smoothie is something of a new age milkshake, it's roots really go back to the rise of the soda fountain and the mass production of ice cream around the turn of the century.
But smoothies generally are healthier than the old-fashioned malt. The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees even have them delivered daily when they're in training.
There's hardly a limit to the healthful additions that can be made to a smoothie. For example, I've seen recipes that call for -- among other things -- sunflower seeds, raisins, cooked oatmeal, granola, peanut butter and even chocolate chip cookie dough. I once contemplated adding a couple of Krispy Creme doughnuts to a smoothie at the last minute but thought that might be self defeating.
Summer is the perfect time to lug out your blender and prepare a refreshing smoothie but with frozen fruit you can make smoothies year-round and what's more, using frozen fruit leads to an even thicker finished product.
Whatever time of year you whir up a smoothie, I think you'll agree that as the people at the Weather Channel might put it, "A smoothie offers a varitable cyclone of flavors."
Garden Green Smoothie
Adapted from the Vitamix Cookbook, this recipe assumes a high-powered blender, which will make short work of the ingredients even if put into the machine practically whole. Blenders of less power will require chopping the ingredients more finely in advance.
1/4 cup water
1 orange, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 celery stalk, halved
1 small carrot, halved
1 green apple, cored and quartered
1/2 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
1 cup romaine lettuce
1 cup kale, spine removed
1/2 cup parsley leaves
2 cups ice cubes
Place ingredients in blender container in the order given and secure lid. Starting at slow speed, blend until desired consistency, tamping down contents as necessary. If using a Vitamix, select the smoothie cycle.